With her first and only feature film—a hard-luck drama she wrote, directed, and starred
in—Barbara Loden turned in a groundbreaking work of American independent cinema,
bringing to life a kind of character seldom seen on-screen. Set amid a soot-choked
Pennsylvania landscape, and shot in an intensely intimate vérité style, the film takes up
with distant and soft-spoken Wanda (Loden), who has left her husband, lost custody of
her children, and now finds herself alone, drifting between dingy bars and motels, and
callously mistreated by a series of men—including a bank robber who ropes her into
his next criminal scheme. A rarely seen masterpiece that has nonetheless exerted an
outsize influence on generations of artists and filmmakers, Wanda is a compassionate
and wrenching portrait of a woman stranded on society’s margins.
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by The Film Foundation and GUCCI.
Join Janus Films in 2018 as we celebrate the centennial of the Swedish director’s birth with a traveling retrospective of all of his theatrical films!